“Cyber attacks will intensify in the marine market”

Legal firm DAC Beachcroft  has predicted that cyber attacks will intensify in the marine market.

Anthony Menzies of DAC Beachcroft said that, while the advent of crewless vessels might be some way off, modern vessels and ports were becoming increasingly automated, “using remotely accessible interconnected systems that make them vulnerable to cyber attacks”.

He said that the shipping industry had been slow to react to this but that it was now taking steps to respond.

This was most recently evidenced by the publication of ‘The Guidelines on Cyber Security onboard Ships’ in January 2016, jointly produced by BIMCO, ICS, CLIA, Intercargo and Intertanko.

To date there have been few reported incidents of marine losses arising from cyber attacks, but these are only likely to grow as reliance on remote access automated systems increases.

In the short term, losses are expected to be relatively small in scale (such as theft of cargo or damage to computer systems infected by malware), but it is widely expected that significant physical damage losses will materialize in the future.

Menzies said that “marine insurers need to start considering how best to advise their clients on these emerging exposures, as well as developing innovative products that not only offer cover but also provide services on how best to manage cyber attack loss events”.